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Old 06-18-2008, 08:32 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 14:54 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 16, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I've explained that the GPL prevents me from sharing original work
> > that links to both GPL and non-GPL libraries.
>
> And I've explained that it doesn't, and asked you to cite the passage
> of the GPL that prevents you from doing it. You haven't bothered to
> do it, and instead decided to keep insisting in this nonsensical
> claim. Please stop spreading lies. We're past the point in which you
> could claim ignorance as to this point.

Wait--Alexandre, are you saying that I could take a GPL library and,
say, a CPL[1] library, write a program that links to both libraries to
create new functionality and legally distribute source code or a
statically or dynamically linked executable version of my program
licensed under either the GPL or the CPL? How about the LGPL and the
CPL?

Please explain in detail with appropriate pointers to text from the
GPL/LGPL showing how it permits this. I am not joining the argument on
either side here--I am genuinely interested in the answer. I've long
thought Les was right on this point, but I'd love to be proved wrong.

Thanks very much.

[1] The Common Public License is a free software license (yes, the FSF
says it's a free software license) that the FSF considers incompatible
with both GPLv2 and GPLv3.
--
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:38 PM
Anders Karlsson
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Okay, time-out - Hitler and the Nazi's, Goodwins Law invoked.

There, kill the thread already.

* Alexandre Oliva <aoliva@redhat.com> [20080618 22:03]:
> On Jun 14, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >>> I'm not mistaken. Everything in there except the conditional grant to
> >>> use, modify, distribute is a restriction.
>
> >> Like what? Tell me *anything* you could do in the absence of the GPL,
> >> that, by accepting the GPL, you can no longer do.
>
> > Given (or knowing about) a library not covered by the GPL, I can write
> > and distribute original work that uses the functions provided by that
> > library, knowing that anyone can obtain their own copy of by my code
> > and the additional library and use them together.
>
> Assuming you have permission from the copyright holder of the library
> to do so. If you do, whether or not the library is also available
> under the GPL won't make any difference.
>
> I get the impression you misunderstood the question. I'm not asking
> something you could do if you had some other permissive license that
> you couldn't do with the GPL. What I'm asking is whether you know of
> anything that, in the absence of a copyright license, you could do
> with a work, that, after accepting the GPL, you could no longer do.
>
> This would be a prohibition of the GPL.
>
> Anything else that you might believe to be a prohibition of the GPL is
> actually a prohibition from copyright law, that the GPL refrains from
> lifting.
>
> >> Another fallacy. "You can redistribute under the same license"
> >> doesn't divide, it has quite the opposite effect. It's permitting
> >> redistribution under any licenses that may lead to forks, including
> >> ones that don't permit further modifications.
>
> > You can't permit redistribution of something you have prohibited from
> > existing in the first place.
>
> You could, but this doesn't apply to the GPL anyway.
>
> The GPL doesn't forbid [anything, not even] the creation of any
> derived works (and no permission is needed to create non-derived
> works).
>
> > for example the original BSD license which is about as far from
> > proprietary as you can get.
>
> Not true, in two senses.
>
> 1. the modified BSD license is even more permissive than the original
> BSD license, and it is GPL-compatible :-)
>
> 2. there is a lot of non-Free (as you say, proprietary) Software
> distributed in part or as a whole under the original and the modified
> BSD licenses
>
> > I agree that the separation would be more obvious
> > if the bits were not embedded as data in the kernel in whatever format
> > the compiler decides to use
>
> ... and the code hadn't been modified so as to require the presence of
> those bits in there and so on...
>
> > You could probably modify the compiler to store data in a separate
> > file instead of whatever embedded memory-loading format it currently
> > uses but it wouldn't change the copyright status of the output.
>
> Agreed. The resulting object file would be just as derived from both,
> and the source file modified to require the presence of the firmware
> would still be just as derived from both.
>
> --
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>
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:39 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Alexandre Oliva wrote:


I get the impression you misunderstood the question. I'm not asking
something you could do if you had some other permissive license that
you couldn't do with the GPL. What I'm asking is whether you know of
anything that, in the absence of a copyright license, you could do
with a work, that, after accepting the GPL, you could no longer do.


In the case I described, there was a more permissive license on an
earlier work (pdtar), so the only relevant comparison is regarding the
difference before and after the GPL was applied with the modifications
that made it GNUtar, but if you insist we can pretend otherwise.


Let's assume that I have obtained my copy of several components under
any license but the GPL, and so have a lot of other people. In the
actual case they were free and redistributable, but the terms aren't
anyone else's business. With any other license, I could at least have
done a diff against the original copies and my work and given that away
(perhaps using line number references if the other work's license was so
strict as to prohibit the copying involved in context diffs), letting
others duplicate the results with their own copies of the components
(well, assuming they had a compiler for DOS too - I really thought it
would have been more helpful to give binaries away). The FSF says you
can't do that if any of the parts are GPL'd and the resulting work as a
whole can't be. This doesn't happen with any license but the GPL.



This would be a prohibition of the GPL.


Yes, in case it wasn't clear before, the specific prohibition that I
consider unethical is that it takes away my choice to share my own work.


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Old 06-18-2008, 08:48 PM
max
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

David Woodhouse wrote:

On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 10:26 -0400, max wrote:

David Woodhouse wrote:

On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 09:07 -0400, max wrote:
David Woodhouse wrote:

Along with the quotes from one of its authors, who also happens to be
the overall network driver maintainer for Linux, and has stated that
each driver and its firmware are 'intimately tied... pieces of a single,
cohesive whole'.
So the driver and its firmware are indistinct from the whole? You cannot
tell where the driver and firmware begin and end?


You can't easily tell them apart in the kernel image, no. It's a bit
easier in the driver source, of course.

And of course even if you _can_ still identify the separate sections,
that doesn't mean the GPL wouldn't apply to them. When the GPL talks
about the independent sections which it extends to cover, it actually
refers to them as "_identifiable_ sections of [the collective] work".

Merely being able to _identify_ the various parts isn't sufficient to
claim that they are being distributed 'as separate works'.

When you see a book of short stories, do you claim that it's not a
collective work just because you can tell where one ends and the next
one starts?


Why or how have they become "intimately tied"?

That's a question you'd have to direct to the author of that file, who
said that they were. He ought to know.


You based your argument around something you haven't confirmed?


Not at all; it doesn't _have_ to be 'intimately tied' for the GPL to
apply to the whole work; my argument isn't at all based on the fact that
they are 'intimately tied'.

I think it's fairly obvious that what we're distributing is a single
cohesive whole which combines both GPL'd kernel code and the firmware.
The argument that they are actually being distributed "as separate
works" is fairly insane, and the claim that it is "mere aggregation on a
volume of a storage or distribution medium" is also extremely
far-fetched, IMO.

To call it 'intimately tied' is an even stronger assertion, and I was
merely pointing out that that's the publicly stated opinion of an expert
in the field (of these drivers), who has actually _created_ a number of
these combined works of driver+firmware. The original copy is here:
http://www.spinics.net/lists/netdev/msg65908.html
cf. http://www.spinics.net/lists/netdev/msg65919.html


Thanks for the links, I will see if I can't put them to good use.

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Old 06-18-2008, 08:54 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>
>>> If it's silly, then you shouldn't have any problem showing where it is
>>> executed as part of "the Program",
>>
>> Execution is irrelevant, because copyright law doesn't apply to this
>> act.

> Does that mean you disagree with the FSF claim that it is not
> permitted to distribute non-GPL'd software that dynamically links to
> unique libraries only available under the GPL?

I agree that the GPL doesn't grant permission for the distribution of
such derived works under terms others than those specified in the GPL.

> And the GPL's 'work as a whole' concept

I don't know what you're talking about. "work as a whole" appears
only once in the license, and there 'work' is not a verb, but rather
part of the "modified work" phrase.

> doesn't apply to the running program?

In some jurisdictions, the copying from disk to RAM for purposes of
execution requires permission from the copyright holder. I guess some
might even accept claims such as that the mechanical processing of
relocations at dynamic linking time amounts to modifying the work.
But none have much to do with actually running the program. That's
unrestricted by copyright law.a

> If it is actually permissible to deliver any combination of
> components separately under different licenses with tools to combine
> them at run time, then the GPL is not nearly as harmful as I've
> believed.

If the GPLed work is not derived from the non-GPLed work, you might be
able to present this as a defense in case someone sues you for
distributing the two components artificially separately just to escape
the requirements of the license.

>> It is *distributed* as part of the program, and that's what copyright
>> law restricts by default.

> Which is irrelevant if you have permission to distribute all parts.

If they form a coherent whole to the point of being regarded by a
court, according to copyright law, as a derived/collective work, then
it is relevant. And then, this is not the case we're talking about
here. We're talking of a case in which one part became an integral,
essential and inseparable part from the other, so the distinction is
definitely no longer irrelevant, because it's a different case.

> It is only the weirdness of the GPL denying the right to distribute
> under many conditions that even makes this a question.

-ENOQUOTE

>> And it's distributed as inseparable part of
>> the program while at that.

> I don't see how you can say it is inseparable when the firmware
> downloader understands the separation perfectly

You got your facts wrong, I'm afraid. The code in question doesn't
even use the firmware downloader. It absolutely requires the code to
be part of the source code.

> it's a part of the program since it gets
> installed on different hardware - except maybe for the CPU microcode.

So, when you use say Google Docs, just because some part of the
program is shipped to your computer while another keeps on running on
Google's servers, they're not part of the same program named "Google
Docs"?

Just because a program uses Java RMI to transfer classes from one
process to another (that may be running on a different machine), the
classes are not part of that program?

Do you even have an argument here, or are you just saying it, to fill
in the void? :-)

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Old 06-18-2008, 09:56 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Alexandre Oliva wrote:



If it's silly, then you shouldn't have any problem showing where it is

executed as part of "the Program",

Execution is irrelevant, because copyright law doesn't apply to this
act.



Does that mean you disagree with the FSF claim that it is not
permitted to distribute non-GPL'd software that dynamically links to
unique libraries only available under the GPL?


I agree that the GPL doesn't grant permission for the distribution of
such derived works under terms others than those specified in the GPL.


OK, then the relevant question becomes whether the kernel or the
firmware is a derived work, not whether they are distributed together or
not.





And the GPL's 'work as a whole' concept


I don't know what you're talking about. "work as a whole" appears
only once in the license, and there 'work' is not a verb, but rather
part of the "modified work" phrase.


Once is enough - and it is the definitive requirement:
"These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If
identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and
can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those
sections when you distribute them as separate works."


The question is, does taking some code and an opaque binary blob and
sticking them in the same file make a 'work as a whole' or is it
identifiable sections of code and separate data that are not derived
from the Program?



It is *distributed* as part of the program, and that's what copyright
law restricts by default.



Which is irrelevant if you have permission to distribute all parts.


If they form a coherent whole to the point of being regarded by a
court, according to copyright law, as a derived/collective work, then
it is relevant. And then, this is not the case we're talking about
here.


How is it different? The question is whether firmware and microcode are
part of the kernel 'work as a whole', which, I don't think depends on
how they are distributed at all.



We're talking of a case in which one part became an integral,
essential and inseparable part from the other, so the distinction is
definitely no longer irrelevant, because it's a different case.


Are you sure that the opaque blob of firmware can't be replaced by any
other opaque blob of bits without affecting the other part? In which
case it's just aggregated and along for the ride.



I don't see how you can say it is inseparable when the firmware
downloader understands the separation perfectly


You got your facts wrong, I'm afraid. The code in question doesn't
even use the firmware downloader. It absolutely requires the code to
be part of the source code.


Would the code continue to work if you replace those bits with something
else that would work in the hardware it loads?



it's a part of the program since it gets
installed on different hardware - except maybe for the CPU microcode.


So, when you use say Google Docs, just because some part of the
program is shipped to your computer while another keeps on running on
Google's servers, they're not part of the same program named "Google
Docs"?


I wouldn't assume that. But why not stick to the CPU microcode example?
I think it is the purest form of the issue in question.



Just because a program uses Java RMI to transfer classes from one
process to another (that may be running on a different machine), the
classes are not part of that program?


Unless it is covered by the GPL with the 'work as a whole' restriction,
the question doesn't make much sense, since a program can otherwise have
any number of components under different licenses running together. And
in the GPL case, I haven't seen even the FSF try to claim that things
running on other machines or connected via pipes or sockets are covered
parts of a 'work as a whole'.



Do you even have an argument here, or are you just saying it, to fill
in the void? :-)


I would like to see a definitive answer to delimit the 'work as a whole'
where the GPL restrictions of any component apply, particularly in cases
like microcode downloads and how shared libs would differ from code in
ROM or firmware in flash. I think your interpretation is wrong, and
mine might be - but I suppose we aren't going to get one.


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Old 06-18-2008, 09:59 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> I get the impression you misunderstood the question. I'm not asking
>> something you could do if you had some other permissive license that
>> you couldn't do with the GPL. What I'm asking is whether you know of
>> anything that, in the absence of a copyright license, you could do
>> with a work, that, after accepting the GPL, you could no longer do.

> In the case I described,

It's not relevant, it was in a different unrelated part of the
conversation. The question was not about the case you described. It
was a general question, to show that your notion that the GPL
prohibits you from doing anything is a misunderstanding.

The GPL only grants you rights, it only adds to the set of things you
could do in its absence, it doesn't subtract anything from the set of
things you could od in its absence. Whatever prohibitions you
perceive stem from copyright law and from other restrictions you may
have accepted.

> Let's assume that I have obtained my copy of several components under
> any license but the GPL, and so have a lot of other people.

Still missing the point. Don't assuming you have a license that says
other things. That would just show that there are other licenses that
are more permissive. We know that. This is not related at all with
whether the GPL prohibits you from doing anything.

The way to tell whether the GPL prohibits you from doing anything is
comparing what you can do once you accept the GPL with what you could
do before you accepted it.

> With any other license, I could at least have done a diff against
> the original copies and my work and given that away

As long as your original work is not a derived work. If it is, you
still need permission from the copyright holders of the original work,
to both create your derived work and to distribute the
collective/derived work.

> This doesn't happen with any license but the GPL.

Sorry, I don't know how you came to this conclusion, but it's
incorrect.

Try to create a derived work based on say Microsoft Windows or
Microsoft Word, if you happen to have them around, and to distribute
it, and see what happens.

>> This would be a prohibition of the GPL.

> Yes, in case it wasn't clear before, the specific prohibition that I
> consider unethical is that it takes away my choice to share my own
> work.

It doesn't. Your own original work can't possibly be a derived work.
It does not grant you permission to distribute joint works you created
by deriving works from others' works in certain ways, so the
prohibition from copyright law remains in place. See, you didn't have
that choice in the first place for the GPL to take away. That's the
fundamental point that you're missing.

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Old 06-18-2008, 10:17 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>
>>> Except when the separate parts are identifiable and not derived.
>>
>> *and* *not* distributed as part of a single work derived from the
>> Program.

> Yes, those are true - it's not derived from 'the Program'

The whole is derived from the Program and the firmware. You don't
want it to be, I know, but repeating it won't make it any less false.

> and it is an identifiable separate section.

This doesn't matter once you realize it's part of a single
copyrightable work.

>>> "If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program ..."
>>
>> "... when you distribute them as separate works"
>>
>> that's the same sentence you started quoting, BTW.
>>
>> Do you dispute that e.g. tg3.c as it stands is part of a single work?

> It is an aggregate of separate unrelated parts with origins and
> destinations in separate places.

This doesn't answer the question.

>> And that it's derived from a (theoretical? unpublished?) earlier
>> version of tg3.c that was entirely under the GPL?

> Maybe, but the owner of the code can apply whatever license he
> wants.

But in order to distribute it as part of a GPLed work, there's only
one option for the license that applies to the whole.

> I think the old GPL marking on the tg3 code
> was a mistake and a red herring in this context anyway.

Agreed. This doesn't ake the current marking (which is what I'm
talking about) any more acceptable for inclusion in a GPLed program.

> Why not pursue this argument regarding the CPU microcode for a more
> generic disposition?

Because the CPU microcode is not part of a single source file along
with GPLed code (even though it is distributed by Fedora as part of a
single package, allegedly under the GPL)

> Putting two things together doesn't necessarily create a derived
> work.

I know. It's modifying them for integration that does. Or arranging
them in a way that involves a creative process. Or selecting a
sufficient number of them under creative criteria to the point that
the collection is a creative work in itself. There are many ways to
step away from the 'mere aggregation' case into the 'single derived
work' case.

> It may still be two separate things. What's your distinction
> between an aggregate stored together and a derived work?

It doesn't matter what I think it is. What matters is what the law
says.

> Being contained in the same file making them derived seems as wrong
> as two separate printed works being on the same page.

Nobody claimed it was a hard and fast rule. But then, this is not how
tg3.c came to be. It would be trickier to make a call if it had been
that simple.

>>> "Collective work" is not a relevant issue.
>>
>> ... because you it would show you may be mistaken?

> No, because aggregates are permitted collective works.

Adn their distribution is permitted only under the terms of the GPL,
unless it's "mere aggregation" (i.e., it doesn't amount to a single
derived work)

>> Do you dispute that tg3.c is derived from (i) earlier versions of
>> Linux, and (ii) the firmware it contains?

> Yes. The firmware it contained was a separate item then, and so is
> the version it contains now.

Dude! tg3.c *contains* the firmware, and it was modified to count on
its being there. It can't possibly not be derived from it.

>>> We already know they are separate, since they get dumped
>>> into separate hardware.

>> As in, a movie is not a single work, but rather a mere aggregation of
>> independent separate works in a single DVD, because the video gets
>> processed by our eyes whereas the audio is processed by our ears?

> Does not compute...

The fact that it gets to different hardware is irrelevant. The
relevant point is that the whole forms a single work, and claiming it
isn't just because portions of it are for your vision hardware and
other portions are for your listening hardware doesn't make a
difference.

> But if you mean that songs used in the movie are
> still owned by the same entity that owned them before the movie, I
> think that is correct,

I didn't mean that, but I agree it's correct. But this has ZERO to do
with whether the movie in the DVD is a single work. Surely the song
whose snippets play during the movie are not mere aggregation, they're
an integral part of the creative work.

> and using a song in one section of the movie in
> no way affects the rights of a different one in another section.

Nobody ever disputed that. Please don't insist on this point any
further. It's irrelevant.

This is not about any rights as to the separate work.

This is about rights over the single work that integrates that
formerly-separate work with a formerly-GPLed project by means of the
tg3.c driver, derived from both.

>> And, come to think of it, even the video is a mere aggregation in
>> itself, because even though it's compressed, it's a mechanical
>> transformation out of a sequence of clearly separate and independent
>> pictures.
>>
>> Right? :-)

> Yes, the representation does not affect the underlying creative works.

I think this is enough to show that you're seriously missing
information as to how copyright works, and it's become clear that you
have no interest in obtaining such knowledge.

Thanks for playing, take care,

--
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:20 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, max <maximilianbianco@gmail.com> wrote:

>> Yes. Which is why we should stop supporting these "PCs" which aren't
>> completely free.

> I'm all for it too but first you have to get completely free options
> on the market place.

Why does it have to be 'first'? Why can't we build up pressure such
that vendors will have more of a reason to do it?

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Old 06-18-2008, 10:28 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Rahul Sundaram <sundaram@fedoraproject.org> wrote:

> Not all game maps are purely non functional data for example.

That's fine. The exception is not for game maps. It's for
non-functional data.

> GFDL has non variant sections and so on.

That's fine. As long as all invariant sections (if any) are
non-functional, it's still ok.

> Suffice to say there are lots of border line cases.

There aren't, really, unless you take the examples for guidelines,
instead of understanding the social, ethical and moral principles that
led to the guidelines, for which a few examples are given.

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